The Opposite of Stress

Everybody knows what stress feels like. We also know what it feels like when we’re kind, when someone is kind to us, or even when we witness kindness.

The feelings are opposite. Most of the effects inside the body are the opposite too.

Feelings of stress generate ‘stress hormones’ in the brain and body, like cortisol and adrenalin.

Feelings of kindness generate oxytocin and nitric oxide (I affectionately call them ‘molecules of kindness’). Stress creates tension in the nervous system, pushing it into ‘fight or flight’; Kindness relaxes the nervous system, guiding it into ‘rest and relax’.

Stress increases blood pressure, kindness reduces it.

Feelings of stress generate free radicals and inflammation in the arteries and immune system, which can eventually lead to cardiovascular disease. Feelings of kindness reduce free radicals in the arteries and immune system. Kindness is, in fact, ‘cardioprotective’ (protects the cardiovascular system).

Stress weakens the immune system, kindness boosts it.

Stress makes us unhappy; kindness makes us happy.

Stress is linked to depression; kindness is protective towards depression.

And just to top it off, while stress speeds up ageing, kindness slows ageing.

The Science

Here’s a little by way of a simple explanation for some of the above effects.

Stress is linked to cardiovascular disease. Small amounts of stress are OK and even relatively large amounts too, if not too frequent, but consistent stress is associated with poor health outcomes through having a negative impact on the heart, arteries, and immune system. Stress is ultimately associated with shortened lifespan.

On the other hand, the warm feelings we get through kindness generate oxytocin and nitric oxide. Nitric oxide softens the walls of our arteries and improves blood flow around the body. Together, oxytocin and nitric oxide reduce blood pressure.

Where stress increases free radicals (oxidative stress) and inflammation in the arteries and immune system, which is linked with hardening of the arteries, research on oxytocin using cells from the arteries and immune system found that it reduced free radicals and inflammation in the arteries and immune system, effectively acting as an efficient antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.

Research also shows that in relationships where there are more kindness, love and affection, there is also much less hardening of the arteries. It’s almost as if when we harden towards others, so we harden on the inside, but when we soften towards others, so we soften on the inside too. I love the symmetry!

Stress increases the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, placing the body on alert. Kindness and compassion, on the other hand, increase parasympathetic activity, allowing the body to relax and regenerate. Kindness and compassion increase vagal tone, which is a measure of parasympathetic activity.

Stress can have a long-term negative effect on the immune system. Kindness, on the other hand, explains the ‘Mother Theresa Effect'; this is from research that showed that the immune systems of volunteers were boosted when they watched a video of Mother Theresa of Calcutta performing acts of kindness.

Kindness also makes us happier and is an antidote to depression. Many pieces of research comparing people performing acts of kindness with people going about their normal business show that people doing kindnesses become happier. Other studies find that, statistically, people who do regular volunteer work are generally happier and suffer less depression than people who don’t.

What surprises many people is that kindness slows ageing. It’s pretty obvious, really, when you really think about it. It is common knowledge that stress speeds up ageing. We’re all familiar with the tales of people whose hair went white rapidly once they began a stressful job. Stress causes oxidative stress (what happens when free radicals wreak havoc) and inflammation, which accelerate ageing of the heart and arteries, immune system, joints, muscles, hair, skin, brain … pretty much the whole body.

Kindness slows ageing in a few ways. Indirectly, simply through sparing ourselves stress we spare ourselves some of these effects. But more directly, the products of kindness (oxytocin, nitric oxide, and increased vagal tone), actively slow internal processes of ageing, like oxidative stress in the skin, muscles, arteries, immune system. Some research, for example, has shown a substantial reduction in oxidative stress in muscles and skin when there’s plenty of oxytocin around.

And here’s the thing: you can’t get oxytocin from diet. You can’t eat it nor drink it. The only way to get it is to make it internally, and we make it through how we think, feel and behave. When our thinking, our feelings, and our behaviour towards others and towards animals is kind (yes!… kindness to animals boosts oxytocin) then it’s like we turn on an oxytocin tap inside our bodies, giving us much of these ‘side effects’.

You don’t need to do something huge for it to qualify as a kind act. Simple gestures count too. Even a kind thought about someone that results in a smile on your own face is you being kind.

You don’t even need to give it much thought at all.

Just be kind!

Comments

Cheri 15th November 2017 4:45 pm

Yes I love this, it's free, it's easy, available to all, and sews seeds of love. So simple to give, why has it become so rare to experience? Maybe it's just our perceptions as we have been biologically vibrationally unavailable so to speak.

But to me kindness is a simple act coming from conscious awareness of what is going on around us.

:smitten:

Nitebloom 16th November 2017 12:23 pm

are you a real Dr?> because if thats so then this is even cooler to read

Toni 16th November 2017 10:39 pm

Yes…I love random acts of kindness…those that are given as well as those that are received. Balance is key I've noticed...many volunteers who give without allowing themselves to receive usually end up with disease. Random kindness happens a lot when I’m at the supermarket. Yesterday an elderly lady in a wheel chair couldn’t see her Chai coffee. After assisting her & having a conversation I left her to continue my shopping feeling an awsome current of joy that brought a tear to my eye. Joy then domino’d into all my other physical interactions yesterday. I love days like that.

I did have a question tho. Why did Mother Teresa age like she did then die of heart failure if kindness slows stress which slows aging? To my mind she would’ve looked at least 20 yrs younger like some of my mates & the heart would be the last to go. Found my answer. She’s just another one of those Catholic ill usions to rake in the dosh. http://all-that-is-interesting.com/mother-teresa-saint

:)

Toni 16th November 2017 10:44 pm

PhD. Is Doctor of Philosophy (mind)…MDs are the Dr’s of biology.

“And here’s the thing: you can’t get oxytocin from diet. You can’t eat it nor drink it. The only way to get it is to make it internally” David

Oxytocin is used as a prescription drug under the brand name Pitocin. An MD would know Big Pharma’s already got a patent. My bet is it’l become the new Prozac. I agree with David tho that we create it freely with our thinking, feeling & behaviour. My experience has proven this…no fancy letters required.

Oxytocin is also associated with empathy, trust, sexual activity, and relationship-building. The secret to human love & demon demise.

:smitten:

Cheri 17th November 2017 1:18 pm

Interesting syncronicity you provided for me Toni reading the referenced article on Mother Theresa. As you know I work in service on clearing the earth grids and unraveling all the layers of darkness and mind control programming within the astral as well.

I have been hearing the name "Mother Theresa" recently just like I have heard "Rockefeller, "Clinton", "Martin Luther", "Rasputin" and the "Windsors" within these layers of misqualified energy. I was quite surprised by the addition of Mother Theresa. While we all know these other characters as being dark sorcerers and part of the Illuminati structure, I was quite surprised to hear her name.

I am not surprised that the Vatican would be involved at all as we know the Jesuits role in history and the rampant pedophilia, hoarding money and manipulating the masses with mind numbing religious programming. The truth is that Catholic Church could have saved the entire city of Calcutta easily with it's horded riches.

Cheri 17th November 2017 1:37 pm

I did not think that she was a witting accomplice though because of her deeds as the nuns are really the only saving grace of the entire patriarchal system. I come from a long line of Catholics and have had to heal eons of religious programming and physical and etheric implants within my own ancestral biology.

So the question becomes if we believe her acts to be of upmost sacrifice and kindness, then is this our perception of reality and beneficial as a role model for good deeds done? I think I just answered my own question!! She represents a skewed role model as nothing truly beneficial energetically like kindness should ever be felt as misery or come at great personal sacrifice to ones self so she is the typical archetype of the victimization and old programs of poverty and lack being equated to higher spiritual ideals and so called "sainthood" which the church has used to manipulate and control the masses for eons while amassing and hoarding all the world wealth and why their power bases have been especially within the improverished and poorer populations worldwide.

Cheri 17th November 2017 1:52 pm

Sorry to go on and on but this is so interesting to me!! So on one hand we are creating this beneficial hormone within just by experiencing what we perceive as a person who represents great kindness while subconsciously we are witnessing the utter depravity of these conditions relating mentally to the "there by the grace of God, go I" just reinforcing the whole savior mentality!! Geez it is amazing how these wafer thin perceptions are disappearing as the whole mind control agenda unravels right before our very eyes and these archetypes are revealed and no longer become our "role models" supporting all our fears.

I still support the premise of this article and what you have experienced with simple acts of kindness Toni. This is exactly the new norm of mutually beneficial energy exchange!! Our entire system is healing, we will have no need for big pharma and the entire savior mentality they have enslaved us with mentally through hospitals and the broken medical system as we release our fear of death and depravity :) Love you!! :smitten:

Toni 19th November 2017 7:00 pm

Lol love you too Beautiful. :smitten:

Been getting hit with one truth after another lately too. MT (Mother Teresa) wasn’t a big shocker tho.

David’s (haha I’ve got this urge to call him Hamilton minus the fancy letters & the David?) article’s based on scientific proof. Yet kindness isn’t the full equation to antistressing. Love is. It’s the love that’s felt within when a kindness is done that creates this lift in frequency that flows into the anti-stress & youthing effect. When one has an ulterior motive like MT the heart is in fear not love… The heart knows the truth…& that shows in the face & eyes.

There are 3 basic fuels here…Love, fear & neutral. Kindness is what the Greeks call agape & religions call charity. I’ve noticed that being in love at eros level creates the greatest love hence has a greater effect than agape.

When integrated love raises ones vibrational frequency...the physical density octave.

Hugs :smitten:

Ps…you’re welcome to join the conversation Hamilton. Then I won’t be talking about you it would be to you. :)

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Author Information

David R. Hamilton PhD

David R. Hamilton PhD is the bestselling author of 6 books that fuse science, the mind, and spiritual wisdom.

Books from David R. Hamilton PhD

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